1. Pilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pen – Medium Nib – Black
Appearance & construction:
1/29/16: This is not a pretty pen. It’s utilitarian, almost deliberately ugly to invite throwing away once it’s empty. But it holds a ton of ink, is sturdy, writes consistently, and has a quality nib that makes it difficult for me to throw out. The fact that so many have found clever ways to convert these into EDs says a lot about their quality and value. It’s a $3.00 pen, it’s ugly, but it’s a keeper.
This is my first Varsity, and I’ve been looking forward to it from the moment I started looking at good cheap pens. I read that it’s line is a wet medium, and it is, and I was waiting to see if there was a fine nib option. In some of the V-pen ads, the term “small point” (or something similar) is used, and I was hoping that this is the equivalent of fine, but I haven’t been able to confirm this, so I settled for the Varsity, which comes standard with a medium nib.
I’ve added it to my desktop collection for everyday use. Right now, these pens are on my desk in a small glass jar, which is rapidly filling up. The other pens are: Kaweco Classic Sport, Lamy Vista M, Lamy Vista F, Jinhao 599, Nemosine Singularity F, Noodler’s Charley, Platinum Preppy 05, Monteverde Artista Crystal M. All are demonstrators except for the Jinhao 599 and the Varsity. Charley is semi-clear.
2. Pilot V Pen (Varsity) Disposable Fountain Pens, Black Ink, Small Point Value Set of 5（With Our Shop Original Product Description）by Pilot. Amazon Price: $11.24 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Have not ordered.
I’ve read so much about the Pilot Varsity that I’m tempted to try it. I’d opt for the V-Pen instead of the Varsity because, from what I’ve gathered, they offer a “fine” point. However, I haven’t been able to find a V-Pen “Fine” anywhere. The closest is V-Pen with a “small point.” From Amazon user reviews, I’m assuming that “small point” is the equivalent of fine.
I definitely don’t like the wet dark lines that usually come with medium nibs. My ideal is something between a fine and a medium, with just a hint of wetness. I’m learning, though, that type of paper stock determines to a large extent the wetness or dryness of a nib. In my tests, I’ve come to rely on three types of paper: Mead green tint steno tablet, Mead letter writing, and standard printer. The printer bleeds the most, and the steno, the least. The letter is in between.
When a pen bleeds freely on steno, I know it’s too wet for me. However, when a pen writes dry and thin on the steno, I try it on the letter. If it’s still too light, I try it on the printer. Usually, it’ll be acceptable on the printer.
(The Nemosine EF wrote too thin and dry on all three. Thus, I ordered two more: a Fission with M and a Singularity with F. As of now, I like the M, but the F is growing on me. The Platinum Preppy F, too, is dry on all three stock. I’m awaiting delivery of two Ms, which are included with bottles of Noodlers 4.5oz.)
When a pen is perfect on the steno, it may be too wet on the letter and the printer.
Thus, pen wetness, dryness, bleeding, etc. are relative, dependent on the paper stock. The ideal pen would work on all types of paper, but I haven’t found it yet. Since most of my pen work is done on printer paper, I prefer a fine nib that won’t bleed too much and still set a dark line.
From reviewers comments, I’m sensing that the V-Pen small point is actually closer to the Varsity M, which many are saying writes wet and bleeds.
Thus, I’m hesitant to order the V-Pen with “small point.”